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US to sell more weapons to Taiwan

Taiwan

With the increase in duress from Beijing as it claims Taiwan as its own, the White House is proceeding with the sale of sophisticated military equipment to the island.

As per the officials, the Trump administration was preparing to see MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system to Taipei. The plausible sale and three other notifications hauled reproach from China.

Value of the weapons being sold to Taiwan

According to a few sources, the sales were assessed to be about $5bn in total. The figures may comprise of costs for training, spares and fees, thus causing confusion in estimating actual values of each.

As reported by Reuters in September, seven major weapons systems were coming via the US export process as Trump administration was surging pressure on China with the concluding weeks of campaigning for the upcoming elections.

The pre-notification to Congress relating to the General Atomics-made MQ-9 drones is the foremost since President Donald Trump’s administration decided to go through with the plan to market more drones to countries by revamping an international arms control agreement known as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The other congressional pre-notification was for land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, created by Boeing, to function as coastal defence cruise missiles. According to a source, the estimated 100 cruise missiles that were alerted to Capitol Hill would have been valued at $2bn.

Process to approve the Taiwan sale

Representatives for the US State Department did not counter the request for comment instantly.

A Taiwan government source accredited that “Taiwan has five weapon systems that are moving through the process.”

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees can appraise, and oppose, weapons sales under an unofficial review procedure prior to the State Department sending its official statement to the legislative branch.

Reuters informed on Monday that unofficial notifications had already been directed to Congress for a truck-based rocket launcher called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that permit the real-time broadcast of imagery and data from the aircraft back to land stations.

China and Taiwan conflict

China deems democratic Taiwan as a part of its own land and has not exempted the use of force as an option to take dominion of the island. The US thinks of Taiwan as an essential democratic station and is needed by law to stipulate its defence.

President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, said on Saturday that the government would persist to renovate the island’s defence competences and augment its faculty for lopsided warfare to “deal with military expansion and provocation from the other side of the Taiwan Strait”. Disproportionate warfare is intended to make any Chinese attack problematic and expensive, for instance, with shrewd mines and convenient missiles.

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Vidhi Narula

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